Jorginho saw his penalty saved by Yann Sommer, with Domenico Berardi and Ciro Immobile wasting great chances, as Italy were held 0-0 in Switzerland for this World Cup qualifier, but set the record of 36 games unbeaten.
The Azzurri make history with a 36-game unbeaten run, a new world record, and visited the side they had beaten 3-0 in June during their march towards UEFA EURO 2020 glory. Roberto Mancini made four changes from the team that drew 1-1 with Bulgaria on Thursday, introducing Manuel Locatelli, Domenico Berardi, Giorgio Chiellini and Giovanni Di Lorenzo. The hosts were missing numerous stars, as Granit Xhaka has COVID-19, Xherdan Shaqiri, Mario Gavranovic, Breel Embolo and Eray Comert are injured, with Remo Freuler suspended, so Fabian Frei had his first cap since March 2018.
Ciro Immobile shinned over when set up by Nicolò Barella, but Berardi should’ve done so much better when sent clear on the counter from a Swiss corner by Locatelli, firing straight at Yann Sommer one-on-one.
Another Locatelli inspired pass created an opportunity for Immobile, while Ricardo Rodriguez’s deflected cross hit the side-netting and Lorenzo Insigne’s curler skimmed the far top corner.
There was a real scare when Manuel Akanji’s header looped inches past the woodwork with Gianluigi Donnarumma struggling to get there.
On the stroke of half-time, Insigne’s free kick from the tightest of angles was punched out from under the bar by Sommer.
Straight after the restart, Immobile pounced on a Ricardo Rodriguez defensive error and the Torino defender made it even worse by going in late on Berardi. Jorginho stepped up, but Sommer is a specialist on spot-kicks and saved the weak, central penalty. It was the first time Jorginho has failed to convert for Italy in normal time, but his second in a row considering the saved effort during the EURO 2020 Final shoot-out.
Nicolò Zaniolo was thrown on as a False 9 for his first Italy appearance in 363 days. Insigne was blocked off at the last moment twice by Akanji and Nico Elvedi, then was denied only by a sensational Sommer double save, again sent through by Locatelli.
When Zaniolo did manage to shake Akanji off, he slipped at the crucial moment, then tested Sommer directly from the corner flag.
Switzerland also threatened with Zakaria from a tricky angle, but Chiesa went on an astonishing run in which he nutmegged Elvedi, rode a sliding tackle and was eventually brought down by the third defender.
Switzerland 0-0 Italy
Switzerland: Sommer; Widmer, Elvedi, Akanji, Rodriguez (Garcia 63); Aebischer, Frei, Sow (Zakaria 63); Zuber (Vargas 63), Steffen (Fassnacht 71); Seferovic (Zaqiri 85)
Italy: Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Emerson; Barella (Pessina 90), Jorginho, Locatelli (Verratti 77); Berardi (Chiesa 59), Immobile (Zaniolo 59), Insigne (Raspadori 90)
Ref: Del Cerro Grande (ESP)
Saved penalty: Jorginho 53 (I)